The men’s and women’s cross country teams have several new faces and returning players for the 2010-2011 season.
During the 2009-2010 season, the women’s team posted an 11th-place finish in the NCAA Division II National Championships and finished 3rd in the Division II Midwest Regional. The team locked up a 2nd-place finish in the GLIAC Championships, with Grand Valley State taking the title. The Bulldog women’s team will look to continue this success as it begins preparing for competition.
Senior Tina Muir, along with last year’s entire roster, is returning for another shot at a GLIAC title. Muir, who took first place in the GLIAC a season ago despite battling an injury, but has since recovered and is anticipating this season now that she is completely healthy. Muir said she is glad that she went through that adversity that came from her injury and believes she has come back a stronger person both physically and mentally.
“Team expectations are hard to predict, but our first goal is to get into nationals again,” said Muir. “A top 10 at Nationals should be achievable and we would love to achieve top eight.”
Seniors Megan Josey and Paige Onweller, along with sophomore Anna Rudd, are also returning this year. With each runner being pivotal pieces to the success of the team, cross country head coach Steve Picucci says he is hoping the older athletes will step up and help all the younger team members adjust and prepare for the season.
“We had a very talented group of freshman last year and this year’s team has a number of new faces that we are hoping can contribute to our success this year,” said Picucci.
The men’s cross country team will look to continue building on the improvements of recent years. After taking 5th place in the GLIAC Championship last season, with junior Tyler Crossman leading the way with a 12th-place individual finish, the men’s team plans to show that the hard work it has put in over the summer will pay off.
“Our goal is to improve on our performances from last year and look for improvements from everyone over last year’s races,” said Picucci. “The main thing we learned from last year is you have to fight for every spot in our region and conference races. The competition is so close that every spot matters.”
The men have several runners returning for the fall season including senior Alex Best and sophomores Alex Bladecki and Crossman.
The cross country teams will begin the season on Sept. 3 at the Northwood Open. n